Photo Credit: Marylebone Cricket Club
IN THE FINAL TRIP OF THE 2023 MCC OVERSEAS TOURING PROGRAMME, A SQUAD OF PLAYERS WILL DEPART LORD’S FOR KENYA LATER THIS WEEK FOR A TWO-WEEK MEN’S TOUR OF THE AFRICAN COUNTRY.
A strong squad of 13 players, plus a Tour Manager and Umpire, will travel to Nairobi as the Club begins its longest tour of the year, which comprises of eight matches. Previous overseas tours in 2023 have seen men’s squads travel to Belize, Austria and Greece, and a women’s squad to Germany.
This will be the strongest men’s squad that the Club has toured with this year, with several current and former first-class players included for MCC’s first trip to Kenya since 2018, having previously not toured there since 1999.
The squad will be captained by former Kent and Leicestershire all-rounder Darren Stevens and led by Tour Manager Arfan Akram, who sits on the MCC Committee and served on the Players & Fixtures sub-committee between 2013 and 2016, having played over 100 games for the Club.
Stevens can boast over 16,500 first-class runs and nearly 600 first-class wickets in a decorated career spanning more than 25 years.
He is joined by two former Kent teammates – Marcus O’Riordan, a batter who featured in the LV= County Championship and Metro Bank One-Day Cup this year, and Adam Ball, a former England Under-19s left-armer.
Current Derbyshire and former Hampshire batter Harry Came, who averaged 43.43 across 11 matches in this year’s County Championship, boosts the first-class experience, with the remainder of the squad consisting of players who have regularly played county second eleven, National Counties and ECB Premier League cricket.
In the eight games that MCC will play across the fortnight, the formats will vary between 20, 30 and 50-over matches. The action will begin in Nairobi, and move north to Nakuru, before a coastal trip to Mombasa is bookended by further matches in the capital.
Kenya are currently ranked 29th by the ICC in men’s T20 internationals and will be best remembered by many for reaching the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2003, a tournament in which Nairobi hosted a match. The city hosted the T20 Africa Continental Cup earlier this year, with Kenya losing out by a single run to Uganda in the final.
As with all MCC overseas tours, there will be an emphasis on coaching in local schools and clubs, with several sessions planned across the trip. The MCC Foundation has also been carrying out work in the country for the past year, as part of a programme of work across East Africa partnering with Cricket Without Boundaries. Thousands of young people have already been exposed to cricket in Kenya through projects ran by the MCCF.
This tour will provide an opportunity for the Club to pay tribute to Simon Prodger, who passed away earlier this year. Simon, a well-known name in cricketing circles and a Member of MCC, was an Executive Trustee of the East Africa Character Development Trust (EACDT), a UK registered charity which works with up to 5,500 boys and girls each week in primary schools in and around Nairobi.
The schools are all situated in socially challenged/deprived areas, and the programme promotes character development and life skills using cricket as the mechanism by which the programme is delivered.
The opening match of the tour when MCC play Kenya Kongonis Cricket Club at the Nairobi Club Ground will be dedicated in memory of Simon, and later in the trip, the Club will face a EACDT XI at the Jaffery’s Sports Club.
Simon was posthumously recognised by MCC during the summer when he was selected as an honorary Community Cricket Hero for his immeasurable contribution to the recreational game.
Away from playing and coaching, the MCC squad will get to experience some of the incredible opportunities which Kenya has to offer, including a safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
“AS WITH ANY MCC TOUR, COACHING LOCAL CHILDREN IS ONE OF THE MAIN PRIORITIES OF THE TRIP ”
Tour Manager Arfan Akram said: “We are thrilled to be travelling to Kenya for such a significant tour. We are looking forward to eight competitive matches against strong opposition and it is a fantastic opportunity for this set of Playing Members to represent the Club abroad.
“As with any MCC tour, coaching local children is one of the main priorities of the trip and we have some interesting sessions lined up which are part of several projects in the country.
“It is also fitting that we will pay tribute to the late Simon Prodger, who had undertaken amazing work in Kenya through the EACDT programme.”
The squad for the tour is: Arfan Akram (Tour Manager), Adam Ball, Harry Came, Alex Evans, Simon Fernandes, Tushaar Karia, Abhishek Kulkarni, Cillian McDonnell, Charles Page-Morris, Marcus O’Riordan, Darren Stevens, Jack Tector, Finlay Yates, Chris Whittock, Neil Bainton (Umpire).
Saturday 4 November
Kenya Kongonis Cricket Club v MCC – in memory of Simon Prodger
Nairobi Club Ground – 30 overs
Sunday 5 November
Kenya XI v MCC
Ruaraka Sports Club Ground, Nairobi – 50 overs
Monday 6 November
EACDT XI v MCC
Jaffery’s Sports Club, Nairobi – 30 overs
Tuesday 7 November
Rift Valley Sports Club v MCC
Rift Valley Sports Club, Nakuru – 20 overs
Friday 10 November
Kenya XI v MCC
Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj Ground, Nairobi – 20 over floodlit match
Saturday 11 November
Kenya XI v MCC
Simba Union Club, Nairobi – 50 overs
Sunday 12 November
Coast Cricket Association v MCC
Mombasa Sports Club, Mombasa – 20 overs
Tuesday 14 November
Kenya XI v MCC
Nairobi Club Ground – 50 overs